Suriname eyes massive gas export market, large projects with Guyana’s help


By Vishani Ragobeer 

Suriname is hoping to harness its oil and gas resources to fuel its long term development and Managing Director of the Suriname Energy Authority Dave Abelveen says that the country is hoping to pursue large industrial projects in partnership with Guyana. 

By 2030, the Guyana Basin (that is, Guyana and Suriname) is expected to produce over one million barrels of oil per day. Alongside this, large natural gas reserves will be tapped. 

With this potential, Abelveen said Suriname is eyeing the development of an energy corridor in the Arco Norte region of South America. 

“Associated gas alone would satisfy the domestic long term power demand in both countries [Guyana and Suriname] while there is also gas potential for the Arco Norte and significant industrial development,” Abelveen told a recent virtual forum. 

This Arco Norte region consists of Guyana, Suriname, the northern states of Brazil and French Guiana. 

A study published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IaDB) in 2016 concluded that an electricity transmission line that interconnects these countries is “technically and economically viable” – with the potential to generate lower electricity costs in the countries. 

And with domestic demand satisfied, the Managing Director also noted that about three gigawatts of power could be  exported to northern Brazil. 

For context, Guyana’s current energy demand is less than 150 megawatts (MW); three gigawatts of power is about 20 times that amount. 

Meanwhile, with Guyana and Suriname both seeking to harness natural gas produced offshore, the Managing Director emphasised: “Together Suriname and Guyana do have the potential to use our gas to unlock energy integration and industrialisation,” 

Over the next decade, Abelveen related that Suriname’s industrial demand is expected to grow. The country, with its expected oil and gas resources, will explore the establishment of industrial parks, petrochemical plants and an aluminum or gold mining refinery plant. 

Guyana is moving ahead with plans to develop a gas-to-energy project at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD) by 2025. It is proposed that a pipeline will transport natural gas from the prolific Stabroek Block, offshore Guyana, to a natural gas liquids (NGL) plant at Wales. 

The gas produced at the NGL plant, it is currently proposed, will be sold to third parties for use. It is also proposed that the gas will be used to fire a nearby power plant, manned by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) that should produce 300 megawatts of electricity- about twice the amount of Guyana’s current production.

The Government of Guyana is, however, in discussion with ExxonMobil’s local affiliate on potentially executing and operating both the NGL plant and the nearby power plant. 

With the gas to energy project, and other renewable energy projects, the government intends to significantly cut the cost of power locally while meeting growing demand. Reduced costs are also expected to spur the country’s manufacturing and industrial growth.

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